The political class as we know it is living on borrowed time. Revolution is in the air, says Comment Central. 

In October, Toronto’s citizens will hit the polling booths to decide the city’s next Mayor. Some will be stunned to learn that the incumbent, Rob Ford, looks set to win a second term. Yes, that’s right – the same Rob Ford that kept international audiences entertained with his audacious misdemeanours. We chortled as he delivered blunder after blunder. He faced down allegations of sexual misconduct, admitted to smoking crack cocaine, was filmed threatening to assault his political opponents, and knocked down a fellow council member during a televised session.

In contrast, the UK last week saw the resignation of Maria Miller from the Cabinet for what was a relatively minor (by Westminster standards) expenses error. Miller’s exit was hastened by public anger and Tory backbench fears that the Minister, by retaining her place in Cabinet, would impact negatively on the Party’s chances at the general election in 2015.

But why the contrast in political fortunes? The answer is that the two individuals fall into distinct categories. Ford belongs to a small, unique set of politicians that, whether they like it or not, are themselves in the public spotlight. They are authentic. Ford is who he is, and although he may at times try to be more ‘statesmanlike’ in the traditional sense, he fails so badly that he convinces no one. Instead, we see him for he who really is, and, by and large, many people like it. Significant portions of the public can relate to his imperfection.

Ford is not alone, other politicians occupy the same camp as him: Nigel Farage, with his pint holding, fag smoking persona, Boris Johnson with his bumbling zip wire woes, George Galloway with steadfast refusal to adopt any notion of a status quo and, last, but by no means least, Silvio Berlusconi…

These are all politicians that have torn up the rulebook of political etiquette. They are more natural and ‘normal’ and a significant portion of the public love them for it.

Maria Miller by contrast is part of a mainstream of politicians. A political class characterised by polish and excellence. Immaculate, courteous and conscientious – the epitome of perfection. The public see them as a Mount Everest of aspiration, something they should aspire to be. The public has a sense of irritated admiration for them. But as soon as one of these ‘mainstreamers’ put a foot wrong, the admiration turns to blind fury; the public feels betrayed. It’s the political equivalent of participating in the Tour de France against Lance Armstrong, only to find that he’d been lying and cheating the whole time.

These ‘mainstreamers’ set an impossibly high bar that many of them fail to maintain – as evidenced by the countless resignations any Government can expect when in office.

The likes of Rob Ford, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage are a small but growing number of politicians who are more themselves and less pretentious. Rather than rejecting their imperfections, they embrace and thrive on them.  The public love them for it.

5.00 avg. rating (92% score) - 1 vote